Areopagites: on ‘stuff’

1. Sinistre: Words I don’t like using so try to not use it as much as I can; and also do not want other people to use it unless they have some knowledge about the concept that they can teach me so I can use it:







Opinions (and following, why I should give a shit about a claim you don’t seek to prove or demonstrate, or give me reason to care beyond you just uttering words before me)

‘Death Metal’

2. Antisophie: Is it me or are teenagers awkward, underdeveloped adults? Furthermore, was I that pathetic, nervous, sexually frustrated, and fat back then? I’m taking out not being asked out by guys (back then) on the world…I’m starting by taking it out on Sinistre and Michael by guiltriping them about being men!

3. Sinistre: Response to Antisophie: She has succeeded to make me feel bad to be a guy

4. Michael: Antisophie makes me think that we should, as men, make gestures similar to affirmative action to put forward that women should not be objectified.

5. Sinistre*: I have a friend who finds it impossible to get closer to someone because of a certain social stratification issue; he thinks it is impossible to be forward with a girl about his feelings because of the institutional discourse of how it may be seen as ‘sleazy’, and ‘hitting on a girl’. Poor guy…I think he’s just using that as an excuse for his own timidity.

6. Michael: Michael Jackson’s earlier albums are quite good! (Sinistre gives me a hard time admitting that)

7. Sinistre: I was talking to Prime a while back, and he asked me, is it compromise to change because of a beautiful woman? I responded: change scares, and change moves us away from what we once were.

However, moving around to fit a given female’s desires (or that of the institution of femininity projecting desirability criterion of malehood upon the institution of masculinity) may be socially deleterious, consider Michael’s thoughts on the Wolverine analogy…sometimes putting up ideals for masculinity are just as harmful as the putative feminine picture.

8. Sinistre*: I’ve been often asked; what’s your political orientation? I don’t know; I used to be a strong lefty Marxist; but that was more an intellectual thing than any genuine moral conviction.

I think we in Areopagus are getting a bit more right-wing and authoritarian these days; but we are also extremely liberal on some issues; to the point that we purposely make people in institutions uncomfortable as the consequence of our suggested political model. Like the original (pre-Prime) Sinistre used to say…’suffering makes us pure’. Michael still believes that nonsense…

Some days we are Mill liberals; other days, we are Platonic facists. We support the latter for one simple reason; people are too stupid to know what is best for them. If they are too stupid, they don’t count as respectable, nor do they deserve to be listened to with authority. Master Destre is very hard on this issue…it troubles me, but I must obey.

Asymmetrical reasoning (in spatial cognition, and human empathy)

While Michael is out chasing Finnish bass singers, I decided to reflect upon some things we have been mutually been talking about. I shall refer to a phenomenon that I will call asymmetrical reasoning processes.

If A is to the left of B, then B has to its right, then B has in relation to it, A to its right.

A first question: can we construe this proposition in terms of the dyadic symmetry relation Lab iff  Lba?

This is an aside. Let’s talk about the real reason at hand; I use symmetrical in as much as a putative non technical sense as I can.

Theoretical cognition cases

Lets put an example; I am at the train station, I want to get to the bakers in the quickest route as I can; so I take route A, which consists of staying predominantly on the right side of the road, and the journey takes 4 minutes (we are not aware of the duration).

Now, I want to go back to the train station from the bakers, after getting my baguettes or somesuch, and I take a different route, lets call it route B, where I walk down the right hand side of the road, go on the left, and then go back on the right again; which takes 5 minutes (again, we are not aware of the duration).

Lets grant for the interests of clarity, that in both routes to the bakery, and returning to the station, that I desire to go back the quickest way, why is it that I pick route A, and then not-A, instead of just A alone? Lets also grant that these kinds of cases also happen; are we being irrational or asymmetrical about our spatial reasoning of distances?


Why is it that we can ‘perfectly’ give reasons for our own states of behaviour and attribute particular processes and motivational profiles to our actions; but we do not accept seeing them as rational when we find identical processes and reasoning in that of others?

Example: Consider the following dialogue

C: I love you
D: I’m sorry, there is someone else
C: You don’t care about me?
D: Yes, I do, but this other person (E) is so very special
(C reasons the following: E is  so special to D, D cannot love me because I don’t appear as special to D, therefore, C reasons that she is not special, and enters a cycle of self-hatred.)
C: I am not special
D: No,  of course you are; you are very special for (valid and sound) reasons x,y,z…
 (C accepts reasons x,y,z towards them being special, but cannot commensurate her specialness in virtue of x,y,z to the fact that she cannot have the relationship with D that she wants)
C: I am not convinced, D, you do not love me, and I am worthless because I do not possess this special relation you have with E.
D: You are special to me, even if we do not have the necessary emotional compatibility and intimacy (i.e. ‘special relation’)
 (C is still not convinced of her specialness, but finds a strong basis for the feeling of her inferiority, that basis of her rejection, which overrules x,y,z)
Now, lets say that D is talking to E, and, D admits his love for E, but E gives the same story, that she has a special relation to another person, F, but tries to convince D that he is special (for sound and valid reasons p,q,r,); D is in the same position as C, and commits to the same reasoning process that D is inferior in virtue of his rejection from E, and that the reasons, p,q,r are not sufficient to convince him of his worth as a person.
If we were to ask D whether C was special, he would say “yes, of course she is”, and would appeal to reasons x,y,z; but if you pointed out that D is acting in the same way as C, and D accepted that C was acting unreasonably (namely, it is unreasonable that C should feel horrible about herself because she is a wonderful person [x,y,z class reasons]),  and that D shouldn’t feel inferior, miserable and worthless, because he too is very special for p,q,r class reasons, he would refuse to acknowledge they are the same kinds of situation, saying something like “this situation is different to C, she is wonderful, I am not…”
Let me state it in more human terms; isn’t it odd how we refuse to accept that people reason in the same ways that we do? Particularly, poignant is it that we are easier to find fault in other people’s reasoning, but lack the reflective clarity very often to discover it in ourselves. Is our reasoning about other people asymmetric insofar as we do not treat our reasons and motivations in the same way as we do others? Or are we irrational for not treating others as ourselves, and vice versa?
Destre (and Antisophie) 

Two aspects of the secular: independence and criticism

1. A secularist society would have independence from religious institutes. This entails that the state and religious authority would not be one and the same.

2. A consequence of being autonomous from the state, is that religion can criticise government; and government, religion.

Spinoza in the TPT maintained that a good society is one where people can think what they want, and say what they think, freely…sound familiar?

Very often we give too much authority and credence to the state. Who will police them? Charities can do some good; and so can religious groups.

Criticism is the moral of the enlightenment. Not just criticising religion, but also state, and society. Nothing is immune to critical evaluation. I think its a great thing that the Catholic Church are criticising the proposed medical plans of the government; personally I wish they used a vatican doctor who may have a medical background, rather than some hierarchical official; I know the Vatican has those medical experts…(where are they hiding?!). I’d rather listen to a dentist give me advice about teeth, than a holistic therapist; likewise, I’d rather listen to the word of a medical doctor about a health issue than someone without those credentials.

I think its a good thing that the Church criticises the state (and that the state has to listen to them like any other [non-priviledged] interest group). The Catholic Church, just ilke the Muslim Council of Britain, is a community which represents a section of Britain’s community. Of course, the state doesn’t have to listen to them…

So, this whole ordeal made me think:  Is it ironic that the enlightenment society could be an uncomfortable one [not to suggest that this is an enlightenment society in any way]? Perhaps I should think harder about the bleak Iron Cage of Modernity.


Tarot: Crawlspace (2006)

This is a fine song; it’s angry, its pumping, its orgiastic, its masculine, aggressive, its retro, and most of all, it’s Tarot (de re). For the Glory of Nothing may not necessarily be my most favourite of albums, but it is sufficiently dark, entertaining, and possibly (with the exception of some songs in Crows), the most aggressive of lyrics. It carries on from Stigmata, but forms a moment of Tarot’s development that makes it stand suis generis; this is the last pre-beard Tarot album of Marco.

In the Studio version; there is, what I see to be an allusion to the song Stigmata in the album of the same name, is Crawlspace a continuation of the mindset that is evoked in Stigmata, or a phase moving on from it? I’d be interested if it were.

Here’s the studio version for you anyhow:


Is poetry better than pushpin?

Mill, in Utilitarianism Chapter 2, or 3, talks about a division between higher and lower pleasures.

While pleasure, for the standard act utilitarian is the highest good; a the justification of pretty much anything; Mill’s utilitarianism (which, I admit, I don’t care or know much about it as I should), tries to be a bit more refined than the brutish model that Bentham puts forward. Bentham has this phrase attributed to him; “poetry is no better than pushpin”, pushpin is this thing were kids are making a circular wheel move by means of pushing it with a stick…or something; the point he was making (I think) was that ceteris paribus there are no real reasons to favour one preference over another insofar as within our subjective preference set. There is nothing about poetry that makes it inherently more valuable than pushpin; all pleasures are of the same kind, and all pleasures are a good.

I’ve defined this Bentham construal very unfairly, because I have defined it such that it is almost certainly opposed. Mill, does not accept this intuition that poetry and pushpin are the same; in fact, there are higher and lower pleasures. A higher pleasure is an intellectually titillating act, such as reading philosophy, doing science, and all those other things that kids find boring and elitist, a lower pleasure, by contrast, is those things that make immediate appeal to our sensory faculty, such as lovely food and drink (particularly the latter), sex, and…that’s pretty much it.

I have to say that invoking this kind of distinction to make utilitarianism less crude is a good move. I haven’t read much utilitarian and consequentialist literature; but of the things I do know, some of the later theories like welfarism seem very much to be more deontological than one would like to accept. My intuition basically goes; the more Kantian, the better. Some consequentialist theories put in restraints like rights and, in Mill’s case, higher pleasures. Master Destre and Michael are not as charitable as they would admit they secretly are towards the later consequentialist theories; but there is something to be said about Mill.

We at Areopagus have always had a bit of respect for John Stuart Mill; firstly, in terms of his personal life; and his A System of Logic which has quite a (infamous) reputation. What, however, justifies this value judgment to say that poetry is, infact, better than pushpin. What is it to say that reading Kant exegetically is more pleasurable than listening to Alice in Chains? What makes this anything more than a social prejudice?



Wolverine action figure


When I was younger, I had a wolverine action figure. Wolverine had messy hair, and lots of it, he had big sideburns, he had stubble, he had metal bones, and he had the healing factor.

Wolverine was the toughest and roughest of the X-Men. Wolverine sometimes had relationships with women, he showed a sensitive, caring side, but this wasn’t just to women; it was to children, his friends, and those who he wanted to help.

Wolverine is the male ‘Barbie’. How far do normative icons like Wolverine and Barbie influence us when we grow up? For me, Wolverine influenced me a lot; trying to be the funny man, while also being aggressive; being gruff and messy, while also being of the elite. Trying to look cool and modern, where in your blood, you are as ancient and classical and traditionalist as it gets. Wolverine was a guy I wanted to be like…no guesses as to who wanted to be Mr. Sinister or  Apocalypse

Mr. Sinister